Kaos GL, released a statement on IDAHOBIT 2018 regarding ongoing LGBTI+ event bans in Ankara: Kaos GL urges all those struggling for democracy and fundamental human rights to act and struggle together for equal and liberated days.
28 years ago from today, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from the list of "diseases". World Health Organization's rejection of the ‘disease’ claim which had led many people around the world to be exposed to torture practices due to their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression is an important historical turning point in terms of LGBTI rights.
Since then May 17 has been celebrated worldwide as the Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is the day to act and struggle against all physical, moral and symbolic violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. This day aims to be in coordination with all initiative struggling for equality of people by inspiring and supporting them.
BANS AT THEIR 6TH MONTH
In Turkey, we are starting this day with the ongoing “ban on LGBTI+ events” in Ankara. In 18th November 2017, Ankara Governorship has banned any events to be organized by LGBTI civil society organizations in Ankara indefinitely with the grounds that are protection of “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public security”, “public health and morality” and “protection of the rights and freedoms of the others”.
It has been 6 months after the declaration of the ban. Kaos GL’s and Pembe Hayat’s appeal to halt the ban decision have been rejected. Kaos GL has carried the cases of the rejection and the ban to the Constitutional Court. The court cases continue, but the rights of both LGBTI civil society organizations in Ankara and the LGBTI community has been irrevocably violated with the ban every day.
Our rights of freedom of expression, right to form association, freedom of assembly and right to a fair trial as well as prohibition of discrimination has been violated by the ban. Due to the indefinite period of the ban, we have been limited to use our rights indefinitely; that is, our rights have been abolished.
At the same time, hate crimes and discriminations targeting LGBTIs continue to go unpunished. According to 2017 Hate Crime Report of Kaos GL, hate crimes are committed in public spaces, perpetrators are generally more than two person, and crimes are committed in front of witnesses. 117 surveys presented in the Report show that survivors are seriously afraid of their families and police forces. They also do not trust the courts and state organs. Therefore, very few cases were reported to law enforcement agencies or the courts. Only 19 cases out of 117 were reported to the police, while only 7 were submitted to the court. In only 1 case, the police considered the crime as hate crime.
Statements of the survivors are revealed the impacts of the hate crimes as well:
“I had already felt negative, but now it has increased. Desperation, being put into an unjust situation while you are right, fearing from people and to be able to do nothing consume you.” (a gay survivor of physical violence)
“I could not go out for two days after the incident. I could barely recover myself. I have become afraid of going out even for a while. If a verbal harassment happened, then how can I know if there would not be a physical violence or murder?” (a gay survivor from stalking and verbal harassment)
“I cannot go out alone at night anymore.” (a trans woman survivor from a physical violence)
“I cannot take a bus anymore.” (a trans man survivor from physical violence)
“I felt humiliated and I realized how my friendships were superficial” (a lesbian survivor from verbal harassment)
DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT
Discrimination in employment continues as a serious problem as well. According to our 2017 report on the Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Employees in Private Sector in Turkey, only 17% of LGBTI employees can be open in workplaces. On the other hand, 65% indicated that they are discriminated at workplace or they have to hide their sexual orientation and gender identity in order to prevent the discrimination.
The situation is similar in public sector. 45% of public employees told that they are “completely hiding” their sexual orientation and gender identity at workplace. These facts show that the rate of being open in public sector is quite low. The obstacles to be open in the workplace itself becomes a discrimination. Both In the private and public sector, LGBTI employees are discriminated and there are no mechanisms by which LGBTI employees can report discrimination they exposed. LGBTIs and the violations they faced are being pushed into the invisibility.
HATE SPEECH IN MEDIA
All of these discriminations and violations of rights cannot be presented in the media. When it comes to LGBTI rights, it can be seen how common the censorship and discriminatory language is.
According to the 2017 Media Monitoring Report of Kaos GL, only 46% of the news, interviews and columns on LGBTI issues published in printed media were written in terms of rights-based journalism principles. In the 1291 texts consisting of the 54% of the whole, fundamental human rights of LGBTIs were violated, discriminatory language and hate speech were used, or contents are written in terms of the prejudices against LGBTIs. On the other hand, when we analyzed 1097 texts considered as the proper for rights-based journalism principles, it has been revealed that they are only respectful for fundamental rights of LGBTIs. Again in 2017, in the 33% of the news considered as rights-based and only in the 15% of the whole, news discriminations and hate crimes that LGBTIs faced were presented with rights-based journalism principles.
LGBTI RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS!
On a May 17 when the fundamental rights of LGBTIs have been systematically violated, the prohibitions has seized the freedom of expression and association, and these violations are also invisible, we emphasize one again that LGBTI rights are human rights!
With the occasion of May 17, we reiterate that we will continue our struggle against discrimination and hatred in the way we started with the Kaos GL Magazine in 1994. Kaos GL urges all those struggling for democracy and fundamental human rights to act and fight together for equal and liberated days.
Happy May 17, the Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia!
Kaos GL Association